Do you look confident? If I spotted you are a social gathering, what would your body language say – “Go away, I don’t want to be here” or “Come and meet me”? I’ve read different statistics, but its fair to say over 70% of our communication is transmitted by our body language.
So how do you change your outer appearance, even if your self talk is still struggling to get over negative thoughts. Here are a few tips to practice:-
Start off with your feet at least 12 inches apart and have your weight even distributed between both feet. Also have your soles of your feet evenly planted on the ground – think of the ball of your foot, the heel and a point just below the little toe as a tripod, supporting the rest of your body.
Don’t lock your knees!
Be aware of your girdle! The pelvis (or pelvic girdle) connects your hips to your spine. It supports the weight of the body from the spine. It also protects and supports the lower organs, including the urinary bladder, the reproductive organs, and the developing fetus in a pregnant woman. The problem is, supporting all this weight, we can let our body to sink into the pelvis.
Mentally and physically lift you upper body out of your pelvis. This is easier to do than it sounds. Lift yourself vertically, rather than arching your back and leaning backwards. Imagine yourself “lengthening your spine”, rather than letting it crush up as we let it sink into our normal posture.
In the past I have had lessons from an Alexander Technique teacher, and this is worth reading about as they take posture and “use of the body” to a totally different level. One technique I still remind myself to use, both standing and walking, is to think of a piece of string, attached to the top of your head gently pulling upwards.
Lifting your body out of your pelvis, there is a tendency to lift your shoulders high. Let them drop and relax. When I do relaxation sessions, most people identify the shoulders and neck as where they feel/store most tension. Unfortunately the traditional correction to poor posture is “up straight, shoulders back”.
Let your shoulders widen, rather than pull back. Again, don’t try to force a posture but try mentally giving your body directions.
I have touched on breathing before and will return to it again. The final point I want to make in this post is to practice smiling with your eyes. You cannot do this if you are full of dread or anxiety. Bring an inner smile with you, give yourself some positive messages – “relax and smile”, “calm and smile”, “wonderful people make me smile”.
If you are smiling inwardly, you will start smiling with your eyes when you look at people. And looking at people, rather than the floor or your drink, or whatever is in your hands, is part of the process. Mentally think, “there are interesting people here I want to get to know” – focus on others, be interested in them rather than how you are feeling. If you look approachable, who knows…
photo by newandrew on Flickr